When you're looking to cool off on a hot summer day, forget the fro-yo because there's nothing better than a cone or cup of delicious, decadent ice cream. And, for the refined palate, you need more than the average 31 flavors, so we've rounded up the most gourmet ice-cream spots in the City of Angels. From a century-old creamery that serves every flavor from classic strawberry ice cream to heirloom tomato sorbet, to the ultimate spot to get an ooey gooey chocolate sundae, to the super-exclusive hidden purveyor of cardamom ice cream, we've found the 10 best spots for the coolest summer treats.
Mateo's Ice Cream and Fruit Bars
A friend of mine recently expressed that her summer goal was to eat everything on the menu at Mateo's. I can't blame her because the flavors there are all amazing. If you grew up in L.A., you were probably fortunate enough to have a paleta man walking around in your neighborhood or close by. And if you have no idea what I am talking about, then you are probably insanely rich. For me, it was always a tough decision to choose between the paleta that was made with ice or the one made with milk—to this day, I am still torn. At Mateo's you still have this choice but they have even thrown ice cream into the mix. For those who enjoy the flavors of Mexico, I suggest you order up tamarind, guayaba, or my favorite, mamey.
Mateo's Ice Cream and Fruit Bars, 4929 Sepulveda Boulevard (at Greenlawn Avenue); 310-313-7625.
This is the spot to go to when you want to go all-out and impress your friends. Order up a Warm Ooey Gooey Chocolate Sundae, Espresso à la Mode, or The Milky Way Malt and call it an afternoon. If you want your ice cream done up big with all the fixings, then MILK has you covered. You can even host an "ultimate ice cream party" at MILK if you'd like, just ask. Part ice-cream parlor, part cafe, this spot will make you feel like a kid again with all the insane flavors they worked up. Come with an empty stomach because these sweets are practically a meal. If you want to keep it simple but delicious, as I often do, go for the macaron ice cream sandwich; I promise you that you will be craving this every day for the rest of the summer.
Milk, 7290 Beverly Boulevard (at South Poinsettia); 323-939-6455
Mateo's photo, courtesy of Vivian H, Yelp.
Rosewater saffron, orange blossom, and cardamom, three distinct flavors that invoke feelings of being surrounded by bright colors, vibrant smells and foreign languages in some far-off land. Luckily for you, this can all be found in Hollywood at Mashti Malone's, a Persian ice-cream house that has been making taste buds come alive for more than 30 years. Don't want your ice cream in a cup? I suggest you get your order done up "Mashti Style," which places your ice cream between two delicious wafers à la an ice-cream sandwich. Come to Mashti's with an adventurous appetite because they have flavors that will awaken your palette with one bite.
Mashti Malone's Ice Cream, 1525 La Brea Avenue (at Lanewood); 323-874-0144.
Not much can beat ice cream on wheels, unless it is ice cream being delivered straight to your door. Though I have not been particularly fond of the food truck trend (I'll stick to my taco trucks, thank you very much), I can, without a doubt, say that the Cool Haus is legit. Roaming the streets of Los Angeles, the Cool Haus truck always seems to be awake and ready to serve you something delicious. If you like giant ice-cream sandwiches you are in luck. I have never seen anything as large as this behemoth coming straight out of Cool Haus' truck window. You get to choose which freshly baked cookies you want and pair them with one of their incredible flavors. I stand strongly behind the balsamic fig & mascarpone, which, both rich and savory, embodies everything I want out of an ice cream. If you want something light, the lychee martini is a must. I have loved everything I have ever tried from this truck, so make a date with friends so you can try their flavors, too!
Follow them on twitter @CoolHaus for locations
Mashti Malones, photo courtesy of Kie Flora, Yelp.
Located in my hometown of Alhambra, Fossleman's has been serving up some delicious ice cream for almost 100 years. There is something to say about a place that has stood the test of time while never compromising to a contemporary atmosphere. While keeping classics like fresh peach, chocolate chip, and strawberry on their everyday menu, Fosselman's also shakes it up with monthly specialties like heirloom tomato sorbet, Irish coffee, and black licorice. All you have to do is drive by to see what special flavor they have hanging on a sign in their window. My favorite flavor at Fosselman's is hands-down the lychee, which is quite possibly a nod to the ever-diversifying population.
Fosselman's Ice Cream, 1824 West Main Street (at North Raymond); 626-282-6533.
Much to Eastside's delight, Paradis just opened up shop in Los Feliz now making this their second U.S. location, the other being in Montrose. This franchise has been making people smile across Denmark since 2010, and I couldn't be more thrilled to have their dynamic ice cream at my fingertips. Made fresh daily, Paradis is proud to say that there ice cream is only 10 minutes old when it reaches their counter—and it doesn't stay long judging from the lines I've seen. You can choose from 14 flavors that change daily from their more than 300 recipes. I fell hard for their Elderflower, a light and refreshing taste. If you are looking for something rich, you must try their Ferrero Rocher, which will knock your socks off. Don't worry, if you're not sure what to order, everyone at the counter is very generous with the samples.
Paradis, 1726 North Vermont (at Kingswell Avenue); 323-663-3311.
Carmela Ice Cream
I love witnessing a cozy neighborhood vendor turn into an ice-cream staple of L.A., as Carmela Ice Cream did. At first you could only find Carmela Ice Cream at the Hollywood Farmers' Market, but now Carmela has its very own outpost in Pasadena. Owned by the lovely Jessica Mortarotti, Carmela (named after her grandmother) scoops up some of the creamiest ice cream that has ever passed my lips. Using only Clover Organic Dairy and fresh ingredients in their churns, Carmela lets your forget all that's going on in the world with their marvelous flavors. The honey lavender is tops on my list, while my partner in crime always opts for the fresh mint with coco nips, aka mint chip. Whatever you decide to order, make sure to opt for the waffle cone, which is made fresh daily. The smell alone will incite delight in your stomach.
Carmela Ice Cream, 2495 East Washington Boulevard (at North Altadena Drive); 626-797-1405. Also found at the Hollywood and South Pasadena Farmers' Market.
I got word of Bulgarini Gelato when I saw it listed in one of Jonathan Gold's Essential 99 Essential Restaurants to eat. I had read the Yelp reviews that griped over $6 gelato, but I thought this place might live up to the hype, and I am willing to pay for an experience. Finding the place seemed to be the biggest task of all, though familiar with the area, I apparently blinked and missed the spot. Tucked away in a Rite Aid shopping plaza rests the glorious Bulgarini Gelato, a quaint spot that boasts a cup of the most delicious gelato I have ever eaten. What do I typically order? The olive oil, salt, and yogurt. If there were ever flavors that were destined to be combined, it was meant to be these three. Other favorites consist of the strawberry, pistachio (incredible rich flavor) and the goat's milk with coco nips.
Bulgarini Gelato, 749 East Altadena Drive (at Lake); 626-791-6174.
Nestled on one of the most punk-rock blocks in Hollywood, just behind LACC, is Scoops, an ice-cream shop that has rightfully gained a cult following in this city. With flavors made fresh everyday, you can look forward to an adventure when it comes to choosing which ones will top your cone. Known for their creative recipes, you might see flavors such as wasabi, bacon jalapeno cheddar, and brown bread lining their cases ready to be scooped up. Last time I was at Scoops, I indulged in a delicious horchata ice-cream cone and haven't stopped thinking about it since. Cash Only.
Scoops, 712 North Heliotrope Drive (at Melrose); 323-906-2649.
This cozy Oaxacan spot is my wild card for ice cream because, unlike my other choices, this is an actual restaurant. I definitely recommend you come for dinner and stay for dessert, but if you are looking for one of the most unique flavors in this city, you'll come try their leche quemada ice cream. Known as "burnt milk" in English, this Oaxacan specialty is unlike any other ice cream I've tasted and have yet to see it replicated by anyone who isn't from Mexico. The best way to describe its unique flavor is to say that it has a smoky, burnt smell and taste. Trust me, this is an experience you don't want to miss.
Monte Alban, 11927 Santa Monica Boulevard (at Brockton Avenue); 310-444-7736.